Carer who stole hundreds of pounds from the vulnerable is jailed

A callous carer who stole hundreds of pounds from the vulnerable people he should have been looking after has been locked up.

John Jones systematically milked the bank accounts of two men he was supposedly helping, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

One of the victims preyed on by the 33-year-old father of one suffered from Down's Syndrome while the other required 24-hours-a-day care, revealed Mr Gareth Walters, prosecuting.

Neither had any understanding of financial matters and so the carer had access to their bank cards and pin numbers to allow money to be taken out to pay for food and other goods for them, the court was told.

The withdrawals, from various cash machines in Walsall, had to be recorded in a log that gave details of the location, the amount involved and the purpose for which the money was used, continued Mr Walters.

Jones - who had worked for around two years for Voyage Care, a firm offering support to those with learning difficulties - pocketed cash by either not recording withdrawals or keeping some of the proceeds from those he logged, continued Mr Walters.

The first offence came on February 12 last year when he used the card of one of the men he cared for to withdraw £50 for himself, the court heard. Then he struck a further 11 times collecting a total of £711 from the accounts of both victims between June 21 and November 17.

The last of these involved a £1.95 charge in addition to the £30 he had pocketed and this was spotted during an audit in December. Inquiries revealed that this withdrawal had not been recorded.

Jones was questioned about the incident because it involved one of his clients, both of whom lived in Walsall. He was 'shifty' during the interview and never returned to work again.

This, coupled with the fact he had been disciplined previously for using the cash of those he cared for to pay for taxis to and from work, triggered a major investigation that unearthed the full scale of the crime, concluded Mr Walters.

Mr Gurdeep Garcha, defending, conceded: "These were very mean offences involving very vulnerable victims. He was in a position of trust, feels a deep sense of shame and is now a broken man. The offences were completely out of character."

The lawyer added that they were unsophisticated thefts committed at a time of 'great emotional upheaval' for the defendant following the break down of a five-year romantic relationship. Mr Garcha added: "He has lost his job and is now almost unemployable."

Jones from Waterfront Way, Walsall, who was of previous good character, admitted theft and was jailed for 12 weeks by Judge Michael Challinor who told him: "This was deliberate and callous thieving over a considerable period of time. Those who care for the vulnerable in society must realise they will go to prison if they break the trust placed in them."